Crminal Justice/Matt Kelley: More McCain on Crime – Willie Horton in 2008

Crminal Justice/Matt Kelley

More McCain on Crime – Willie Horton in 2008


Following up on yesterday’s post, here is more from John McCain on his legal priorities and his courageous stance against bad guys. In a post for tomorrow’s National Law Journal, McCain writes that “Senator Obama’s judges would coddle criminals. I will appoint judges who will hold criminals accountable.” This is the same “I’m tough on crime” froth that McCain is spewing in his Florida fliers.

McCain does say in the article that he would make it a priority to keep politics out of the Department of Justice – a worthy goal. Read his full post here.

And read the Wall St. Journal’s analysis here.

But the “coddling criminals” line is reminiscent of the Willie Horton ad credited with derailing Michael Dukakis in 1988. Floyd Brown, the same guy behind the Horton ad, launched a neo-Horton ad against Obama earlier this year (Brown’s National Campaign Fund PAC has also run ads alleging that Obama is a Muslim). And a YouTuber has taken it one step further in a video alleging that Obama could actually be Willie Horton. Some YouTube fun after the jump.


Have you ever seen Obama and Horton in the same place at the same time?

And the NCF’s actual attack ad, trying to make some sort of connection between Obama’s vote against an expansion of the death penalty in 2001 and murders that happened in Chicago. (Two years later, Gov. George Ryan would clear the state’s death row, commuting all sentences to life, after a slew of defendants were exonerated)



NH Concord Monitor: Janeway, Sanborn debate for state Senate seat

NH Concord Monitor

Janeway, Sanborn debate for state Senate seat

Democratic State Sen. Harold Janeway and Republican challenger Andy Sanborn squared off last night in sometimes harsh tones over the state budget, guns and prison sentencing in their first and only debate last night in Weare.

Although smiling and sometimes laughing at each other’s jokes, the pair, a study in contrasts, didn’t shy away from attacks. At one point, citing Janeway’s call for reviewing sentencing guidelines, Sanborn accused Janeway of being soft on crime.

“I guess my question to Harold is: How many people does he feel he needs to let out of prison to balance the budget?” asked Sanborn, who has called for greater sentences for violent offenders.

“This is sort of the Willie Horton kind of attack,” Janeway said quietly. Horton, a convicted murderer serving time in Massachusetts, was released on furlough before committing armed robbery and rape in 1986. George H.W. Bush used the Horton case during the 1988 presidential race to undo the campaign of Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis, who was Massachusetts governor at the time of Horton’s release.

Janeway said a significant number of nonviolent offenders who are in prison for offenses like bad checks or parole violations could potentially be penalized with GPS bracelets, allowing the state to save money and better target its prison budget.

Nashville Post Politics: The NRA Is Completely Racist

Nashville Post Politics

The NRA Is Completely Racist

So says Bob Krumm

UPDATE: Braisted has some thoughts.

Latino Journal: Sheriff’s public racism against Hispanic immigrants causes stir

Latino Journal

Sheriff’s public racism against Hispanic immigrants causes stir

For years, Sheriff Steve Bizzell watched the number of illegal immigrants in his rural county skyrocket — and with it, he says, residents’ fear that the newcomers were responsible for more than their share of crime.

So he helped make North Carolina the first state where every county can team with federal authorities to train local officers to identify and track jailed illegal immigrants, speeding up the deportation process.

But in a newspaper interview last month, Bizzel complained that “Mexicans are trashy” and pointed to several children playing and said “All they do is work and make love.” Though he quickly apologized, his contrition wasn’t enough to ward off critics who call his comments evidence that the nation’s increasingly popular efforts to enforce immigration statutes locally have nothing to do with law and order.

“The chief law enforcement officer is demonstrating his racism in public, and he’s allowing his officers to do the same,” said Tony Asion, the executive director of nonprofit advocacy group El Pueblo and a retired Delaware state trooper. “It gives them the green light to treat Latinos any way.”

NY Times blog: In Florida Mailboxes, Harsh Attacks on Obama

NY Times blog

In Florida Mailboxes, Harsh Attacks on Obama


The second piece of literature, paid for by the Republican Party of Florida, provides a new line of attack. It alleges that Senator Obama would be soft on crime. Few issues are as racially radioactive, especially here in Miami, so it is worth asking: Does the flier go over the line?

Some of it focuses on Senator Obama’s voting history (oversimplifying a present vote in the Illinois senate to suggest he is “against protecting children from danger,” in one example). But on the front, there is a picture of Senator Obama, looking menacing, with an all-black background. On the other side, above the address it says: “Obama: ‘he acted more as a friend to criminals than to cops…’”

When opened, it says: “Obama doesn’t talk much about his views on crime and punishment – at least not in front of general audiences – and for good reason.”

That line and the one out front about criminals and cops come from a Marcheditorial in Investor’s Business Daily that sought to closely link the views of Senator Obama to the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., his former preacher. It called Mr. Wright “his mentor” and said, “unfortunately, Obama listens to his preacher and buys into his conspiracy theories.”


Think Progress: Echoes Of Atwater In McCain-Palin Campaign

Think Progress

Echoes Of Atwater In McCain-Palin Campaign


As the director of the new, critically acclaimed documentary film about the late Republican operative Lee Atwater, I am constantly asked one thing: Will the Lee Atwater playbook save McCain and Palin on Nov. 4th?

My film, “Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story,” tracks how Atwater gave the GOP a playbook that has been winning elections even after his death. His central insight was to reach deep into voters’ hearts, inflaming emotions about race and cultural symbols like the flag, guns, and elitism. He used the media as an echo chamber to push issues off the front page and make campaigns all about resentment, mockery, and fear. In the words of Atwater’s disciple Tucker Eskew, now a Senior Advisor to the McCain campaign:

Resentment became the destiny of the Republican Party.

Will this work again in 2008? Will swing state voters like those in New Hampshire forget about an ongoing global financial crisis brought on by Republican deregulation and crony capitalism, choosing to believe that Obama is a “bad guy”?

Let’s look at how it worked back in 1988, when Atwater was confronted by voter revulsion with eight years of GOP rule. Voters disliked the WASPy, elite George H.W. Bush, the ballooning Federal deficit, the Reagan/Bush administrations’s unpopular, illegal war in Nicaragua, and the covert arms sales to Iranian terrorists that Reagan had lied about on national television.

To the disbelief of both Republican and Democratic strategists, who thought the public would never swallow it, Atwater hammered Dem nominee Mike Dukakis’s little-known stance on mandatory Pledge of Allegiance rules for schoolchildren. He also talked endlessly about a black guy who had escaped from a prison furlough, vowing to make Willie Horton Mike Dukakis’ running mate. Although Dukakis was a centrist candidate who had achieved the American Dream through hard work and relentless moral integrity, Atwater successfully painted him as a dangerous, foreign-seeming liberal elitist who didn’t love America and couldn’t keep us safe. Ring any bells?


Seattle Times Blog: Anti-Gregoire mailers include photos of sex offenders

Seattle Times Blog

Anti-Gregoire mailers include photos of sex offenders


An update on the Republican Governors Association ad campaign we mentioned yesterday.

RGA Communications Director Chris Schrimpf sent along a copy of a mailer that hundreds of thousands of Washington voters will begin receiving today.

The mailer includes photos of sex offenders, including child rapists, who are among the 1,300 the RGA accuses the state of losing track of under Gregoire’s watch.

The ad claims the state failed to verify addresses of sex offenders prior to their release from prison. Others were allowed to register as “homeless.” (The Seattle Times wrote about the issue in this 2005investigative story.)


Bring It On: Lee “Willie Horton” Atwater Comes to Washington State

Bring It On

Lee “Willie Horton” Atwater Comes to Washington State

He may be dead (rot in Hell scumbag) but his ghost is all over the map.

It’s hard to believe that a liberal state like Washington might be sending a Republican to the Governor’s Mansion. The two candidates are running neck and neck. If you live within broadcasting range of Washington, you’re undoubtedly sick to death of their TV commercials.

Republican Dino Rossi is running against Democratic incumbent Christine Gregoire. The same two candidates ran against each other four years ago; it was possibly the closest election in American history. After several recounts, Gregoire won by a handful of votes. There’s been a lot of bitterness and accusations and countercharges since then.

Washington isn’t a swing state. I haven’t yet seen any TV ads about McCain or Obama. Instead we’re getting bombarded with jillions of commercials for Rossi and Gregoire.

But anyway, about Lee Atwater: Dino Rossi’s newest tactic is to exploit a massive bureaucratic fuckup that had nothing to do with the governor. The state government has lost the addresses of 1,300 paroled/released sex offenders. This is intolerable, and heads need to roll.

And now the Republican Governors Association has spent $2 million on a “Willie Horton” campaign to blame Christine Gregoire. Letters (with grisly photos) have been sent out to hundreds of thousands of Washington households. It’s a combination of fear tactics (“this swarthy predator is loose in YOUR neighborhood!”) and the Atwater School of Character Assassination.

HuffPo: McCain Co-Chair Calls Obama “A Guy Of The Street,” Raises Drug Use


McCain Co-Chair Calls Obama “A Guy Of The Street,” Raises Drug Use

Former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, a McCain campaign co-chairman, edged up to an explicitly racial attack on Barack Obama on Thursday, describing the Illinois Senator as a “guy of the street” before raising his youthful drug use.

Appearing on Dennis Miller’s radio show, Keating charged that the Democratic nominee was covering up his “very extreme” record, and urged Obama to be more honest with Americans. “He ought to admit,” Keating said, “‘You know, I’ve got to be honest with you. I was a guy of the street. I was way to the left. I used cocaine. I voted liberally, but I’m back at the center.'”

Keating began to address Obama’s former pastor Jeremiah Wright — a topic that John McCain himself has said should be off-limits — but Miller interrupted him to return to the discussion of cocaine.

Listen to the audio here.

WashPost The Trail: McCain Campaign Co-Chair: ‘Guy of the Street’ Obama Should ‘Come Clean’ About Past Drug Use

WashPost The Trail

McCain Campaign Co-Chair: ‘Guy of the Street’ Obama Should ‘Come Clean’ About Past Drug Use

Former Oklahoma governor Frank Keating, a co-chair of Sen. John McCain’s campaign, called Sen. Barack Obama “very extreme” on a radio show Thursday and raised the issue of Obama’s drug use.

“He ought to admit, ‘You know, I’ve got to be honest with you. I was a guy of the street’,” Keating said. “‘I was way to the left. I used cocaine. I voted liberally, but I’m back at the center.'”

Keating made the comments on the radio show of comedian Dennis Miller.

Miller, a conservative, offered a long critique of Obama, calling him “the most liberal guy” and saying that the “obfuscation” and “smoke and mirrors” surrounding his campaign were “Clintonesque.”

“He’s starting to treat me like an idiot, too, when he’s blowing this smoke my way,” Miller said. “He ought to just come clean and say, ‘Listen, I came up through Chicago. You make some errors there.’ I’d almost be able to absolve it more easily then.”

Miller did correct Keating on the accusation of Obama hiding his drug use.

“Wait, I’ve got to jump in Frank. He has copped to the blow use, right?” Miller said, referring to Obama’s admission of cocaine use in his autobiography. “I mean, he did so in his own book he said he did blow.”

“Oh yes, he did,” Keating said.